Kayla Black, National Elite Teen Miss Texas. Photo courtesy of Annette Black.
Winning a pageant is only the beginning of the work that will come along during the next year. Some systems allow you to make as little as one appearance a month, while others allow you to relocate so you can be a full-time pageant queen. Whether your title is won during an on-stage contest or won through an appointment, it is imperative you know the basics of booking your own appearances so you can make the most out of your year.
One of the easier ways of finding great appearances is to get out in your community and give back through service. A simple Google search can allow you to find local charities and organizations who are eagerly looking for volunteers to help advance their mission. Know what type of service you enjoy; if you have a green thumb, find a group that is planting a community garden or cleaning up the streets during the weekends. Everybody is looking for extra assistance, and you may just be that person.
One of my favorite places to volunteer is at the soup kitchen. I prepared food during lunchtime and distributed it to some of the neighbors. Many came in to eat as well. I enjoyed this simply because I love talking to people and they varied from week-to-week, so I was able to sit down and get to know my community members and their stories, experiences and family tales.
As a journalist, I came to learn that it is the people on the streets who have the best stories and are just looking for an ear to listen. If you are also a people person like myself, try volunteering at a nursing or senior citizen home. They make good company, and who knows the life lessons you can learn from them. You might walk out with a better perspective on life.
With the holidays approaching, there will be plenty of opportunities coming your way. Take advantage of this season and give back; there are so many occasions where you can contribute your time. You, Queen, are a celebrity – use your platform to make a difference. You can also use your title to attend some red carpets events.
Celebrity Appearances Being a pageant queen allows you to become a local celebrity in your own right. Regardless of what is listed on your sash, people will still be excited to see you so make it count.
You can volunteer your services as a mistress of ceremonies or even be a hostess at a gala. Research events on Eventbrite, Facebook, Instagram or ask around to see what is going on nearby. Call the director of the program and say you are “Miss So-and-So” and you would like to attend your event. Suggest ideas of how they can best utilize you at their event. You can serve on a panel, as a keynote speaker, the MC or to introduce the keynote speaker.
If you have a platform, request to be their local celebrity spokesperson and share why this organization is important to you and why you want to serve as a voice for their cause. Tell them a personal story. Try to attend as many events free of charge as you work to build a name for yourself.
For me, it is more important to book events, so I would rather not charge people because there is a chance they cannot afford to or do not see the need to pay you. Do not take it personally, but either ask for a lower price or try to work out a deal. Can they provide your hotel, food or travel expenses? Send them a booking form to make it official. While you are at the event, be on your A-Game. Try to book your next gig at your current one.
Network. Network. Network! I cannot stress this enough!! Your title is only for a short period of time and before you know it, you will be passing it on to the next Q\queen, so utilize your title while you still have it. Although it may not be the easiest thing to do, work the room. Walk around and introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Your crown and sash already give you a perfect conversation starter.
Just begin by saying, “Hello I am Miss So-and-So and I just wanted to come by and say hi and nice to meet you,” and just go from there. This is one thing I learned from a politician. At a banquet, she just walked up to every table and simply introduced herself and went to the next person. It was that simple! You can do that, so do it. As a queen, you should already be familiar with walking up to anyone. However, it does take some practice. Create business cards with your pageant headshots on them so you can hand them out and people can reach out to you. Send follow up emails and always suggest ways you can benefit their company.
There are so many opportunities waiting out there for you, you just have to make the most of them while you can. Make your time as a queen like a full-time job and knock on doors until one opens up for you. Think of what you want to do after your year is complete, and work now to bring your dream into fruition. Pageantry is a great for networking and career building, so own who you are and become great. Set your future self up for life after pageantry.
Tip: "Have confidence in yourself, you weren't made to be anyone else."Learn More